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A Portal in Time
Genre: Paranormal/Historical Romance
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Date of Publication: November 30, 2013
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 50,000
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs
When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we loved before?
Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel. Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before.
As Anna’s memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that’s eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.
When I began reading A Portal In Time, I expected a simplistic tale about time travel or reincarnation. After completing this well written, soulful novel, I was reminded never to second guess a debut author. Claire Fullerton displays remarkable aptitude as she tells the story of two women whose worlds are bound together through a series of seemingly unexplained circumstances.
The story begins in 1907 with young Valeria Kristiansen hiking to a rocky point in the ocean and declaring it a “portal in time”. We then move to the year 2000 where Anna and Kevin Townsend have arrived in Carmel, California to celebrate their anniversary. Since both events occur in the same geographical location, I suspected the two women were connected. And they are but not quite the way you might imagine.
Anna and Valeria’s lives unfold slowly, allowing the reader to savor the elements binding them together. It’s not a fast paced shot of adrenaline but rather a complex taste that develops full flavor the longer it lingers on your palate. Parts of the story remind me of an old movie from 1991 called “Dead Again”. It was a fascinating rendition of the reincarnation theme. So is A Portal in Time.
The two time periods have distinct personalities, adding to their definition within the story as the reader is seamlessly transported from era to the next. Ms. Fullerton has done an excellent job of researching the early 1900’s, offering realistic descriptions of physical setting and period appropriate dialogue.
A Portal in Time is listed as a Paranormal/Historical Romance. It reads much like a saga, with romance being alluded to but never being the sole vehicle of character growth and development. The shorter length is perfect for a long soak in the tub, a few hours by the fire or a simple escape into good storytelling.
March 18, 1999, West Hollywood, California
“What’s this all about?” Lucia pulled out a chair across from her sister. They sat outside on the sidewalk in front of The King’s Head Café in West Hollywood amidst the hum of traffic and the flow of patrons looking for available seating on Beverly Boulevard. “You sounded funny on the phone.”
“I sounded funny?”
“You sounded mysterious,” Lucia clarified.
“I didn’t want to get into it on the phone. I thought I’d wait to talk to you in person.”
“All right, I’m listening,” Lucia settled back into her chair and looked at Anna expectantly.
“You’re not going to believe this, but Kevin brought up the subject of marriage the other day.”
“Why wouldn’t I believe that? It’s perfectly understandable to me, isn’t it to you?” Lucia laughed. “What did you say when he brought up the subject?”
“I skirted the issue, of course,” Anna’s tone suggested Lucia should know that.
“Wait a minute, did he just bring up the subject or did he ask you to marry him?”
“Well, it seemed to me he was testing the waters, but what he said was, ‘God help me, I’m married to a witch.’ I’m not sure I was supposed to hear it, but that’s exactly what he said,” Anna told her.
“Wait a minute, back up, I’m getting lost. Were you doing something that made him call you a witch or was he just making a general observation because he’s had enough time to realize that you are a little touched in that way?”
“In what way?” Anna sounded defensive.
“Come on, Anna, anyone who knows you knows you’re bent towards the uncanny, and I mean that with nothing but love,” Lucia tried to suppress a smile. “You’re the same way that Mom was—obviously these things run in families.”
Anna felt the immediate tug of her heartstrings at the mention of their mother, who had died of Leukemia two and a half years earlier. Her illness had been a harrowing experience to both her and Lucia, absolutely draining them emotionally for the two years prior to her death. Her slow decline compounded the loss of their father when they were only teenagers and now that both parents were gone, Anna and Lucia only had each other. Anna conjured the memory of their mother’s face, her tall elegance and demure ways and recalled that she, too, had an intuitive ability that everyone who knew her remarked upon.
“I don’t know that I’m anywhere near the way Mom was,” Anna leaned back. “Do you remember how she always knew what we were up to when we were little? There was no point in ever trying to fool her about anything because she always knew the truth.”
“Of course, you’ve always been a terrible liar. Everything you’re thinking is always written on your face. You were the one who always gave us away to Mom, not me,” Lucia reminded.
“That’s not entirely true,” Anna volleyed, “I remember the time you tried to sneak out the upstairs window at night and found Mom sitting on the garden bench under the tree you used because she’d picked up on what you were thinking practically before you even decided to do it. She could just tell by looking at you!”
“You’re right about that,” Lucia nodded. “Mom was something else altogether, wasn’t she? I’m convinced she was clairvoyant. I think she knew how to read us both. I really do miss her every day. I think of her every time I see a sunset, every time I feel the change of seasons in the air, every time I see the full moon. She made such an event out of the little things in life, didn’t she?”
“She definitely did. She placed great importance on ceremonies and symbolism and things like that,” Anna said. “I see so many things the same way she did because she taught us how.”
“I do, too. What she did to the exact spot where Dad got in his car wreck is a perfect example.”
“Well, a lot of people do a similar thing. I see markers on the side of the road all the time. Standing crosses with bouquets of flowers under them at the scene of a fatal accident. It’s a commemoration of a particular place where something significant happened.”
“Yes, but it was so much more to Mom than that,” Lucia reminded Anna. “That’s why she buried the key where Dad got in the accident. Do you recall that night? It was only two days after Dad died, but somehow Mom managed to set aside her grief in order to take care of business. She woke us up after midnight and told us to get in the car because we were going to conduct a ceremony. “
About the Author:
Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal/Historical Romance, “A Portal in Time.” Her second novel, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, will be published in March, 2015. Claire is a contributor to numerous magazines as well as a multiple contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. She is a multiple award winning essayist, a former major-market radio disc jockey, and an avid ballet dancer. Claire hails from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently divides her time between Malibu and Carmel, California with her husband and two German shepherds!